'Apex Legends' Loot Boxes & Microtransactions: Apex Packs Worth the Price?
Apex Legends might be free to play, but it’s still designed to separate players from their money thanks to built in microtransactions. In this case that mean’s loot boxes, or as they’re called in the game, Apex Packs. This isn’t a new concept for the video game industry. We’ve seen it a variety of games from Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (made by EA, which also owns Apex Legends) to Blizzard’s mega-popular Overwatch.
Personally, I take great pride in the fact that despite playing hundreds of hours of Overwatch, I’ve never spent money on a single Loot Box. Like most online games that include microtransactions, Overwatch only offers cosmetic items through a randomized loot box system. You unlock some loot boxes by simply completing challenges and leveling up, but if you really want a specific character skin, victory pose, or voice line your best option may be to keep opening loot boxes until you get it. And that means spending money.
Fortnite: Battle Royale takes a different approach, selling season-long Battle Passes that make it easier for players to unlock new cosmetic items by actually playing the game. For now, Apex Legends feels closer to Overwatch with Apex Packs standing in for Loot Boxes, though developer Respawn Entertainment plans to roll out a Battle Pass of its own when Season 1 begins next month.
Now normally, I would never spend real money within a fake video game world just to look cool, but I broke this one solemn vow this week to test out what kinds of rewards you can get by purchasing 40 Apex Packs in Apex Legends. The results were bewildering, but they did yield a few surprises.
The short answer here is that any gamers who already spend money on cosmetic items in Fortnite or Overwatch will likely wind up doing the same in Apex Legends. In this new gaming world, looking cool is everything, whether it’s customizing your banner to brag about stats or using the flashiest Finisher to execute downed enemies in style.
So what can you expect from Apex Legends microtransaction system? Here’s what I learned after opening 40 loot boxes.
First of All, What Is an Apex Pack?
Apex Packs look like little robot spiders that burst open just like an Overwatch Loot Box to award the player with three distinct items.
How Much Does Each Apex Pack Cost?
Players can earn 45 Apex Packs while leveling from 1 to 100, all just by playing Apex Legends. That’s sure to take a while, but if you’d rather take a short cut you can buy them using Apex Coins, an in-game currency purchased using, you guessed it, real money.
Similar to V-Bucks in Fortnite, the exchange rate is 1,000 Apex Coins to every $10 with bonus Apex Coins for buying in bulk.
Here’s the specific cost breakdown for purchasing Apex Coins:
- 1,000 Apex Coins — $9.99
- 2,000 (+150 bonus) Apex Coins — $19.99
- 4,000 (+350 bonus) Apex Coins — $39.99
- 6,000 (+750 bonus) Apex Coins — $59.99
- 10,000 (1,500 bonus) Apex Coins — $99.99
What’s Inside of an Apex Pack?
According to the in-game description, the various loot pools are as follows:
Weapon Skins — cosmetic skins that change specific weapons
Legend Skins — cosmetic outfits for specific characters
Banner Poses — adjusts the live-action pose for each Legend during match lobbies
Banner Frames — adds colorful flair to the banner frames
Stat Trackers — up to three Stat Trackers can be equipped on the bottom of the banner to boast things like “total number of kills” and other noteworthy brags
Intro Quips — snippets of dialogue Legends say during their intro
Kill Quips — snippets of dialogue that Legends say whenever they make a kill
Finishers — flashy means of executing downed enemy players
Crafting Materials — a third form of currency that allows players to directly purchase individual items
The in-game description claims that with each Apex Pack, players have a 100 percent chance to earn a rare item, a 24.8 percent chance for an epic, and a 7.4 percent for a legendary. There’s also a 100 percent chance of at least one legendary per every 30 Apex Packs, and there are never any duplicates.
So What Do You Get From 40 Apex Packs?
Watch the full video at the top of this article to see a play-by-play of each box opening, but here are some of the best things I got from opening 40 Apex Packs — or at the very least items I can say that I genuinely like.
- The Invader — Triple Take legendary weapon skin — looks like an alien-made Mass Effect sniper rifle 👍
- Warlord — Pathfinder rare Legend skin — makes the robot look red
- Solid Wingman — Mirage epic banner pose — Mirage looks casual-AF just leaning against the wall as he flirts with your girl
- Window to the Soul — Wraith epic banner pose — Wraith clenches her fist in an angry way
- Eye of the Storm — Kraber epic weapon skin — makes this sniper rifle a cool, stormy blue color
- Existential Crisis — Wraith legendary finisher — this is an awesome PG-13 rated Mortal Kombat Fatality with teleportation 👍
- Jester — Longbow rare weapon skin — covers this sniper in rainbow clown paints
- Cosmos — Peacekeeper rare weapon skin — paints the shotgun to look like outer space
- Trial by Fire — Eva-8 Auto epic weapon skin — a decent paint job with red, black, and white on this shotgun
- Break the Enemy — Triple Take epic weapon skin — makes this sniper look like an electric purple lava lamp and I love it 👍
- Tidal Wave — Devotion legendary weapon skin — this wants to channel Rambo for this LMG but doesn’t
- The Demolisher — Peacekeeper legendary weapon skin — this excellent shotgun skin makes it look straight out of Half-Life
- The Plague Doctor — Bloodhound legendary Legend skin — amazing skin that makes Bloodhound look like he’s from Bloodborne 👍
Based on this, out of the 160 items I received, I only liked 13 of them. That’s roughly 8 percent of the entire $40 haul, making it not the best return on value.
The Final Verdict
In some ways, the deeper one digs into the cosmetics, the more Apex Legends feels closer to something like Counter-Strike, mainly just because there are a staggering number of weapon skins available for each and every weapon.
It’s far better than Destiny, where you slap a seemingly random coat of paint on your weapons to make them look slightly different, or Fortnite, where you wrap an assault rifle in Christmas wrapping paper. Apex Legends offers various themed skins for weapons that are legitimately the best around.
Based on that and far more, here are my takeaways regarding Apex Packs.
- Finishers are the coolest items but they’re pointless because they make you vulnerable to attack while you assassinate enemies
- Apex Legends has cooler weapon skins than all its competitors
- Overwatch has better character skins than *Apex Legends
- Most Apex Legends character skins are boring or bad, but the best are incredible
- Some of the rarest banner frames are complex but kind of lame and childish
- Most of the quips are cool — but not cool enough to pay money for
- Caustic has bad quips and even worse skins, which make sense for a character that tosses around fart grenades
- All of Bangalore’s kill quips are absolutely savage
- Pathfinder has all of the best quips with Mirage being a close second
- Lifeline doesn’t have a single bad banner pose
- Lifeline does, however, have a terrible pose for all of her outfits with her butt awkwardly facing the camera
- The only thing you have to lose by purchasing Apex Packs is your money
Personally, I wouldn’t pay real money for fake items in a free game, but if Fortnite has proven anything, it’s that this very business model can be wildly successful. For anyone that’s all-in on Apex Legends for the long haul, it can’t hurt to spend a modest amount of money on Apex Packs.
Apex Legends is available now on PC via origin, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.